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You Had Me At Bacon…

Sometimes I’d just rather stay a kid. It seems easier, doesn’t it?  But if this is ‘Grown-Up Mac & Cheese’, I’m willing to act like an adult for awhile. This stuff is seriously d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s.  If you’re not up for making it yourself with the recipe below, come on in and buy some from our Dinners on Demand freezers – this decadent version of the classic macaroni and cheese has become a constant in the Dinners on Demand program, which offers frozen chef-prepared dishes for sale.  For heaven’s sake, it has bacon in it, so how can you go wrong?!

Grown-Up Mac & Cheese

Grown-Up Mac & Cheese


  • 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup butter, unsalted, melted


  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 pound cavatappi pasta, dry


  • ½ pound bacon, roughly cut into small pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons roasted garlic pepper seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or 2 tablespoons prepared hot sauce)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the topping, in a bowl add bread crumbs and butter. Toss to combine well. Set aside.

For the pasta, in a medium stockpot add the water and salt. Bring to boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook until pasta is tender. Remove from heat and drain in colander. Set aside.

For the sauce, in a heavy skillet over medium heat add bacon and brown, leaving the rendered fat in the skillet. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon and set aside. Add onions to bacon fat and cook until translucent. With a slotted spoon, remove onions and place in container. Set aside.

In same medium stockpot, add butter and melt over medium-high heat until foaming, stirring constantly. Add flour, mustard, garlic seasoning, and cayenne. Whisk for 1 minute or until mixture becomes fragrant and deepens in color. Gradually add milk and stock and whisk to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, whisking constantly (mixture must reach full boil to fully thicken.) Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened to consistency of heavy cream, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat. Add cheeses, salt and pepper. Whisk mixture until cheeses are fully melted and incorporated into the sauce. Add pasta and reserved bacon and onions and mix well.

Transfer to an oven-safe baking dish.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and top evenly with prepared topping. Turn oven settings to broil and broil for 3 to 5 minutes or until topping is a deep golden brown, rotating pan for even browning, if necessary. Remove from oven and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to cool slightly. Serve warm. Makes 4 to 6 servings

ETC: It is thought that the combination of macaroni and cheese originated in Italy and its popularity then spread across Europe. From there, it traveled across the ocean to America and was served on many colonial dinner tables – even Thomas Jefferson’s. Whether you make it from scratch, or buy it in that famous blue box, it is undeniably one of the world’s favorite comfort foods. Now you know.


Find this and other CCKC favorite recipes in our cookbook –

“The Culinary Center of Kansas City’s BEST RECIPES – SECOND EDITION.” ™  Available for purchase online at www.kcculinary.com and in our retail store – “The Kitchen Shop.”™

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